Try out a variety of folk dances during a week of fun workshops

All smiles at a traditional folk dance

All smiles at a traditional folk dance - Credit: Contributed

Back to the roots of FolkWeek, and a chance to discover your own folk dance talents

Folk dancing brings generations together

Folk dancing brings generations together - Credit: Contributed

Folk Dance is at the very core of the Sidmouth FolkWeek story, as it is with folk dance that it all started back in 1955.

The festival has since developed to include a whole range of folk arts, but the enduring popularity of folk dance in all its variety ensures its continuing importance to the festival programme.

Dancing is Music Made Visible is a series of morning workshops in English Dance led by Emma Wooders and Limehouse, while Rachel Shapiro invites you to explore some classic contra dances and find out how they connect to modern contra choreography. Chris Metherell and members of Instep lead Stepping in Social Dances, using steps collected from oral tradition in England and restoring them to their place in reels and country dances.

The packed afternoon programme includes a series of American Dance Workshops with Lynne Render and Contrasaurus and Scandinavian Dance Workshops led by Megan Hatto, with music from Bowjolie.

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Anyone wanting to give folk dancing a go for the first time should head to Charlotte Rich’s essential Beginners’ Dance Workshop to learn the different formations and figures, and how to recover when things go a little awry!

More experienced dancers will relish the excitement of Irish Set Dancing with Val and Maddy Knight and The Perfect Cure.

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For something a little different, try the Folk Dances from the Balkans Workshops with Cathy Meunier, Chris Edmunds, Tim Heming and Dave Hiscock, or the Jane Austen Dance Workshop, exploring the dances of the Regency ballroom.

“Do you dance, Mr Darcy?” Hannah Moore and Stradivarious will show you the way.

Some of the most joyous evenings are to be found at the Steppin’ Time Sessions at the Rugby Club, where steppers of any persuasion get together and dance informally as individuals and in social dances to lively session tunes.

Hosted by Jo and Simon Harmer with Jigfoot and members of Instep.

There are plenty of opportunities for Country Dancers too, with various mixed dances from the likes of Jane Thomas, Mollie and Ali, Moor Music and Beryl Jukes.

American Dancers can look forward to great evenings of American contras and squares with music from Vertical Expression.

The Playford Ball, called by Emma Wooders, is sure to be a highlight of the week.

Go dressed up or as you are!

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